Purpose + Progression

November 15, 2018

This past weekend I taught the first module of Maine Yoga School's 300 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training.  Our focus was on sequencing and the ways that we can foster more embodied awareness in our classes.  Vinyasa and Krama are two Sanskrit words that describe our approach to sequencing asana.  As you've probably all heard vinyasa means "to place in a special way" and krama means "a stage of evolution".  Thus we give our teaching purpose and context by putting poses together in an intentional way all while fostering a scaffold to prepare the body for each asana. 


We also discussed the guiding principles of proprioception and interoception.  Proprioception is the ability to know where our body is in space, to move fluidly and to use the appropriate force.  Interoception is our ability to sense what's happening inside the body.  Noticing breath, muscle tension and heart rate are

 all part of our interoceptive awareness.   

If we consciously design yoga sequences with all of these four principles of awareness in mind, we can help our students reach a deeper level of embodiment.  


Some ways to anchor our awareness proprioceptively and interoceptively are as follows:

  • turn down visual cortex

  • use self touch

  • use novel movements 

  • encourage students to transition in and out of poses slowly

  • vary the pace of the class

  • zoom in/zoom out

  • time for integration + reflection (not just Savasana)

  • learn to describe body sensation

  • notice the difference between sides in asymmetrical poses, from pose to pose or from beginning to class to the end 


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